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Showing posts from July, 2009

Retro Friday Review: Life Without Friends by Ellen Emerson White

When I started Retro Fridays, I knew at one point I would have to do an Ellen Emerson White book. I realize I've gone on about my love for her novels at length on the blog. This is not breaking news. But that's sort of the point. I also realized I've only actually reviewed her most recent book--Long May She Reign--the fourth in her President's Daughter series. And that's a wonderful book, and it is an excellent series, but to really get to the root of my EEW love we're gonna need to go back to the beginning. I must have been fourteen. I saw Life Without Friendssitting faced out on the bookstore shelf and thank goodness for whichever prescient bookseller it was that faced it out because it was the cover that sold me. I would never have picked it up if all I'd seen was the spine. The title is, as my husband would (and has!) said, possibly the most depressing book title of all time. But the cover. I love it. Because the girl doesn't look depressed. Thought…

Marillier Pretties

I'm ridiculously late on this one, but here on the left is the U.S. cover for Juliet Marillier's upcoming Heart's Blood(due out November 3rd). Gorgeous is what it is. I'm putting the UK and Australian covers next to it for comparison. Amazing the range you can get for a single book, isn't it? Which is your favorite?
A snippet from the blurb on Ms. Marillier's site: A haunted forest. A cursed castle. A girl running from her past and a man who's more than he seems to be. A tale of love, betrayal, and redemption... Sigh. I cannot wait.

Book Burning Memorial

As part of The New Yorker's lovely 1,000 Words feature, in which they showcase "great images of books from around the world and the web," they've highlighted a picture of a book sculpture created in memory of German writers and poets in the Bebelplatz in Berlin. The Bebelplatz is notable for being the site of a Nazi book burning in which more than 20,000 books went up in flames in a single day. It's such a striking image. And an important one. Go take a look.

Tuesday Giggles: Harry Potter Version

And we're back at the side splittingly funny Cleolinda's for this version of Giggles. She's got her Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in Fifteen Minutes up and I love it so very, very much. If you've seen the movie, you have to check this out. I am a huge fan of Cleo's recaps. They are raucously funny and irreverent and completely awesome. Enjoy!

Guest Blogging: Young Adult Appreciation Month

Today's post can be found over at The Book Smugglers. Ana and Thea kindly invited me to guest blog over there today as part of their most excellent Young Adult Appreciation Month. Come by and weigh in as we talk about young adult literature and why we read it and love it.

Retro Friday Review: Sword-Dancer by Jennifer Roberson

I read Jennifer Roberson's historicals long before I discovered her fantasy books. But after downing her two Robin Hood retellings and one Scottish massacre novel, I discovered she was actually much better known for her earlier Sword-Dancer saga. I loved her historicals for being so character-driven. I loved them for their strong women. And I loved them for their chunkiness. So I went into Sword-Dancer--the first book of six in the Sword-Dancer saga--with a sense of happy anticipation but with no knowledge of what they were about. The covers are a mixed bag, the cover artist changing with every two books. I prefer the first artist, as the third is just cartooney looking, while the middle one makes my beloved Tiger and Del look like members of an 80s Glam Metal band. *shudder* Of course, right after I finished the series DAW re-released all six in three trade paperback omnibus editions, natch. A look at the original cover for the first book and the cover of Volume I of the omnibus e…

Authors Behaving Fiercely

Lately I've run across a few authors I love behaving fiercely. Since that is one of my favorite traits in a book, a character, and an author, too, I wanted to highlight them together. When an author I've enjoyed for some time is interviewed and says something striking or blogs about something important or inspires me in some way to work harder or think harder or just be better in general, a little bell strikes somewhere in the back of my mind and I find myself straightening my shoulders. Here are the three that caused that bell to strike most recently:
1. The National Coalition Against Censorshipinterviewed Chris Crutcher as part of the Kids' Right to Read Project. Mr. Crutcher spoke about his experience as one of the most challenged authors ever, how he deals with the controversy, and reader responses to his books. My favorite bit comes at the end, when in response to the question, "What would you like youth to know about books that have been challenged or banned?&quo…

Ratings System Query

I've been wondering for awhile if I should start implementing a ratings system here at Angieville. The intent would be to give readers a slightly clearer idea of how well I liked (or disliked) the books I review. So I wanted to get your opinion on the matter. What do you think? Would a ratings system help? Stars? Scale of 1 to 10? What are your favorite book review rating systems and would you like to see one here?

Appreciation

Bloggers extraordinaire The Book Smugglers have just kicked off their Young Adult Appreciation Month, which runs from July 19 through August 15th. Ana and Thea were gracious enough to invite me to participating by doing a guest post over there on the 27th. But they have got a serious lineup of events to delight and entertain for an entire month. Rumor is they'll be reviewing The Thief. *fistpump* You can catch the first week's lineup here. They've even extended an open invitation to anyone interested to send them a link to a post on YA lit or a review you've written of a YA book and they'll post links to them all on August 15th--the last day of the celebrations. Be sure to check in regularly! My Friend Amy has put together the second annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week and it's got its own site! Stop in anytime between now and August 15th to nominate your favorite blogs in a variety of categories. There's even a place to nominate your favorite single post!…

Retro Friday Review: The Prince of Ill Luck by Susan Dexter

I ran across a copy of The Prince of Ill Luckin a southern California bookstore I'd never been to before. The year was 1994. I went in in an attempt to prove to a skeptical friend that the smell upon first entering a bookstore is one of the true pleasures of life. That you have to pause just after walking in and savor it. Pressed pages and promise. It's a heady combination, my friends. The book had just come out and was faced out on the shelf. I bought it because I liked the boy on the cover and the blurb on the front declaring it to be a delightfully funny book. I was in the mood for some laughter. As luck would have it it turned out to be a two birds with one stone scenario as I was not only rewarded for my impulse buy but managed to prove my point to my friend. He closed his eyes and let out that happy sigh. You know the one. All in all, an incredibly satisfying outing. Leith is a prince. But that's where the blessings stop. He is also cursed with ill luck. The kind of i…

The Laurentine Spy by Emily Gee

Thanks go to Ana of The Book Smugglers for recommending this lovely little book. It was her review that first brought it to my attention a couple months back and sparked my interest. I picked it up at the bookstore shortly after, brought it home, and then promptly set it on the nightstand stack to marinate for awhile. I looked at it speculatively from time to time but other books kept nosing in and getting in the way. Then when I suddenly needed something incredibly engrossing about characters who elicited my sympathy to pull me out of my post-The Actor and the Housewifefunk, there it was. On top of the stack with its pretty cover and its hinting at a sort of irresistable blend of fantasy, intrigue, romance oh my!
Deep in the bowels of the Corhonase citadel, among catecombs and crypts and crumbling columns, three cloaked and hooded personages meet in secret. They utter their passwords to the mysterious Guardian and enter: Her shoulders brushed rock on either side as she slipped through …

The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale

I'm going to warn you upfront that I had an extreme reaction to this book. An extreme and unexpected reaction. Just ask DH. He had to listen to me rant ad nauseam until I'd exorcised the demons enough to move on. The thing is I haven't reacted so strongly to a book for quite some time and it took me a bit by surprise. Oh, well, who are we kidding? It threw me for one hell of a loop and I had an extremelyhard time shaking it off. Despite all this I'm going to try to continue my tradition of spoiler-free reviews and, as a result, won't be able to tell you the precise reasons why I reacted the way I did. I won't be able to go into excruciating detail explaining exactly how and when my emotions bounced back and forth. But let's be honest. That's probably for the best. So.

Becky Jack is a Mormon housewife living in Layton, Utah, pregnant with her fourth child. She has just sold a screenplay to a film agency in LA and is meeting them there to sign the contract…

Shelved by Color

My friend Alishka Babushka over at All's Fair in Love and War pointed me to this lovely post at Design Mom, in which she reshelves the books on her living room bookcases by color. I know this has been done before, but so many of them are sort of neon crazy or they don't look like books anyone would actually own. This one is just very simple and real looking and particularly pretty on the white shelves, I thought. I don't know if I could ever do it myself (I'm kind of addicted to the nice clean order of my oh-so-original alphabetical by last name system), but I think the result might really be worth seeing. Enjoy.
P.S. How do you shelve your books? And do you go through and change the system from time to time just to shake things up a little?

Creepy Pretties

Frank Portman has his second YA book coming out August 25th--Andromeda Klein. It's about a girl whose life changes when she begins predicting real events through her tarot card readings. Things only get creepier from there. I love this cover! Carrie Vaughn's Kitty books are sitting in my TBR glancing at me longingly. I'm looking forward to digging in. I'm also excited about her upcoming YA foray--Voices of Dragons. Vaughn herself has described the book as, "the rock climbing jet fighters alternate history dragon book." Ahem. I am so in. Lastly comes the third and final novel in Lisa McMann's incredibly addictive Wake trilogy. I can't wait to read Gonebut I'm gonna be honest and tell you that that empty green chair is making me nervous. Janie? Cabel? You have to be okay, okay?!

Retro Friday Review: Seventeen Against the Dealer by Cynthia Voigt

I'm pretty sure my mom handed me a copy of Dicey's Songduring one of our summer reading list deals. Surely you're familiar with the concept. I read so many of the books on the list and she, in turn, gave me some sort of reward. You see this was back in the pre-Chronicles of Narnia phase in my life. The early days when I would rather be rolling down hills or jumping on beds than reading during the summer. Frankly, it's hard for me to look back now and remember such a time even existed. I'm pretty sure it was a list from the local library and that most of the books on it were award winners of some sort. As Dicey's Songwas the Newbery winner for 1983, it was definitely on the list. Looking back I'm actually glad I didn't pick it up that summer. Instead I held out long enough to have fallen in love with reading a year or two later as well as discover that it was actually the second book in a series of seven. The Tillerman Cycle follows the four Tillerman ki…

First Lines Answers + Giveaway Winner

Aaaaand we have a winner! ProdElektra was the first to get all seven first line quotes right. Impressive. Particularly as #5 is out of print and I wasn't at all sure anyone would pick up on it. Speaking of, ProdElektra, how did you know that one? :)
The answers: 1. Daughter of the Forestby Juliet Marillier 2. Silent in the Graveby Deanna Raybourn 3. How I Live Nowby Meg Rosoff 4. Westmarkby Lloyd Alexander 5. The Road Homeby Ellen Emerson White 6. The Outsidersby S.E. Hinton 7. How Green Was My Valleyby Richard Llewellyn ProdElektra, make sure to contact me and let me know which book you'd like and your mailing address. I, naturally, recommend them all. Highly. Thanks for playing everyone! What are you favorite first lines? I'd love to hear them.

Thursday Giggles: Austen Version

Mad over at Under the Mad Hat has written a Twitterfied version of Pride and Prejudice. The hilariously talented lady has titled it "Pride and Twitterverse" and it is, in fact, the entire novel as told through a long series of tweets. Those of you on Twitter are guaranteed to find this one particularly funny. My hat off to you, Mad. This is right up there with Emma Thompson's madly witty Golden Globe acceptance speech for her Sense & Sensibility screenplay. In fact, I think I'll go ahead and include that here for your related viewing pleasure. Enjoy!Edited: I've since been informed there is a Facebook P&P as well as the Twitter one. I should have known....So for all you Facebook peeps, knock yourself out! (It really is hilarious).

First Lines + Giveaway

Jackie over at Literary Escapism had this First Lines meme up the other day and, because I absolutely love a really killer first line, I figured I'd put one together as well. Jackie included the first lines from a stack of books sitting next to her. I'm going to cheat and give you a few of my all-time favorites. Some are technically the first couple of lines. See if you can guess which books they're from. The first person to get them all right (or the person with the most correct answers) wins! I'll announce the answers and the winner can pick one book from the list of seven. 1. "Three children lay on the rocks at the water's edge. A dark-haired little girl. Two boys, slightly older. This image is caught forever in my memory, like some fragile creature preserved in amber." 2. "To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor." 3. "My nam…

Confessions of a Cover Snob

Last week I ran across Brian James' article on judging books by their covers and it got me to thinking. I try not to be a cover snob. I do. I try and fail and try again in the hopes that one of these days I'll learn my lesson. This is a near-constant topic of discussion within the circle of friends and family members I'm constantly pushing books on. A bad cover that conceals treasures within forces you to go on the defensive. I suppose it just hones my bookselling skills but I hate the number of times I've had to say, "Don't let the cover get to you, it's a freaking awesome book. You will love it!" Oftentimes I actually love these covers, but for one reason or another, they're hard to hand other people. The Mercy Thompson series is at the top of this particular list for some reason. I love Daniel dos Santos' cover art. I really do. I'm particularly fond of the cover of Blood Bound. She just looks like Mercy to me. I love the composition, th…

Retro Fridays

I'm starting a new feature here called Retro Fridays and anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. Kath from Bookworm Nation has already got her first post up today as well. She reviews Summer of Monkeys by Wilson Rawls here. I'm tickled others are into the idea and will plan on posting a round-up of Retro Friday reviews here with mine each week. So if you want to join in simply send me the link to your review and I'll include it in the round-up. My address is angieville.reviews (at) gmail (dot) com. It should be noted that Pattie of Pattinase hosts a similar Friday's Forgotten Books feature so check that out as well if you're interested. Thanks everyone. You guys rock!

Retro Friday Review: Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

DH is the one I have to thank for first introducing me to Guy Gavriel Kay's body of work. He was a fan of the Fionavar Tapestry and felt sure I would like them. And like them I did. So much so that you will no doubt be hearing more about them at some future Retro Friday date. But for this inaugural edition I felt myself gravitating toward Kay's slightly later work--Tigana. Originally published in 1990, Tiganais an epic romantic fantasy and was nominated for both the World Fantasy Award and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. First off, because I am an unabashed cover hound, a look at the changing cover art then and now:













Kay prefaces his story with the following shiver-inducing passage from Dante's Paradiso: All that you held most dear you will put by and leave behind you; and this is the arrow
the longbow of your exile first lets fly.
You will come to know how bitter as salt and stone is the bread of others, how hard the way that goes
up and down stairs that never are your own. The stor…

Retro Fridays

So I'm starting a new feature called Retro Fridays, in which each Friday I'll be reviewing a book from the past. This will generally be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book I think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc. In this way I hope to be able to spend a little precious blog-time discussing a few reads that are *gasp* Not Brand New. They will also come from a slightly wider variety of genres and perhaps give us a chance to talk about reading influences, reader's nostalgia, and other topics near and dear to my heart. First review will be up tomorrow. Hope you enjoy!

Silent Pretties

These are Mira's UK covers for Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey series and I want! I've always been a sucker for a matched set and these are just so delightful and fun. Particularly in light of the fact that my original copies will always and forever be hodgepodge as they made a major series cover art shift with the release of Silent on the Moor. Sigh. I particularly like the "A wickedly witty Lady Julia Grey mystery" tagline on the second two. But since these are only available in the UK, the total cost is currently prohibitive. So for now I will simply covet from afar...